Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What a Little Dew Can Do

 When I went to bed last evening, scattered dense fog was predicted by morning. It was already down into the mid-70's and the dew point hovered around 70°. Recent rains from Tropical Depression Isaac soaked the ground and wafted back into the atmosphere, saturating it as I slept.

 I asked Mom to get me up at 6:30 am. I looked out the window at the head of my bed and saw that a layer of fog blanketed the field before me. I hurried down, ate breakfast, pulled on my robe and was outside before the sun rose.

 Spider webs cannot hide in a fog. The numbers of them, large and small, are amazing when they are made visible. Is the entire world strung with this thread unaware? As tiny droplets of moisture condense and adhere to the strands, they become wide white wires and betray their presence on every tree. How do insects ever fly unmolested with these webs?

Just after 7 am, kids are on their way to school (Valley View High School begins at 7:35 am). These cars, enveloped in fog, are hidden both in sight and sound until they approach closely. Then suddenly a flickering headlight pierces the shroud and the sound of tires meeting road rumble in the distance.

 Back Sam's lane, a lone tree stands beside mature corn. Even in the sunlight the tree seems alone but when it's shrouded in fog, an eerie stillness overtakes it. I am wrapped on all sides, cocooned and alone as the tree.

 Also alongside Sam's lane is this spiderweb (Argiope probably), tacked among the thin branches of a pussy willow. Usually hidden, it might as well be a billboard on a morning like this. The cloak is pulled fairly away and some of the simple threads which hold this world together become visible.

 And west of the barn, nestled high amid branches of a blue spruce, another web dangles resplendent with dew. The spider waits dead-center, probably all the while knowing that his lair now signals its true intention. He'll wait for the sun to rise, the dew to dissipate, the world to return to its dry, invisible self. Meanwile, the snare remains set.

[* Thanks and a tip of the hat to Dan Miller for the title of this entry.]

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